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Feb 22, 2008 11:15 AM

Info on corn/mayo street food?

I was in the downtown Los Angeles fashion district last weekend and noticed a lot of people eating a corn mixture out of styrofoam bowls. Curious to try it, I ordered a bowl from one of the vendors. It's a scoop of canned corn, a hefty dollop of mayo, a couple tablespoons of cheese, some chili powder and a squirt of yellowish sauce (maybe some kind of butter substitue?). People were mixing it altogether and eating it like a soup since the liquid from the corn makes it a sort of watery. What's the name for this? Where does it originate? What's the yellowish sauce? thanks!

For those curious, I liked it but the mayo was made it rich enough that it was hard to finish the whole bowl.

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  1. Don't know specific answers but this sounds like a deconstructed version of the standard Mexican corn-on-the-cob treatment:

    Grill corn, slather lightly with mayo, sprinkle on cotija cheese and some chili powder.

    1 Reply
    1. re: dude

      That's exactly what I was thinking.

    2. It's called elotes. Normally you get them on the cob, but they can also be prepared off.

      1 Reply
      1. re: JungMann

        Elote just means corn, so it's not the name of any particular preparation.

      2. Canned Corn? Are you kidding me? Its usually corn that has been boiled or grilled & then shucked.

        The origins, as I understand, lie in Puebla where it takes on the name Esquites (although in other parts of Mexico esquites are served with Epazote, Green Chiles cooked in a little bit of real butter and no Crema)... but its common throughout Mexico and usually known as Elote en Vaso (Corn in a Cup)... usually the Cob is taken off the grill & shucked in front of you.

        The yellowish suacee is either Clarified Butter or Liquid Margarine (more common NOB)... and the cheese of course is Queso Seco or Cotija.

        6 Replies
        1. re: Eat_Nopal

          I'm not positive that it was canned, but it did taste like canned and the kernals came out of a pot that was also full of the liquid that looks like what canned corn comes from.

          1. re: mollyomormon

            That is bizarre... there is usually a lot of competition in the Garment District.. so I am shocked a place could do canned corn and survive... btw, I haven't been there in a couple of years... are the Bacon Wrapped Dogs still going strong?

            1. re: Eat_Nopal

              This wasn't one particular place; there were street vendors all along the sidewalks with huge pots of corn kernals and all the toppings -- about at ubiquitous as the bacon-wrapped hot dog vendors, which are still going strong. We also grabbed a bacon-wrapped hot dog and those were as good as ever.

              1. re: Eat_Nopal

                Out of season, I imagine the corn .. perhaps shucked from the cob and kept in a pot ... would taste like canned. Actually, this time of year ... canned might be better ... I (blush) actually did this with some canned corn recently.

                Hey EN, thanks for putting a name on this. The first time I had elote in a cup I liked the concept ... no messy cob for me to dispose of ... can eat while driving ... however, usually like you said, they make it to order and cut the kernals off the cob in front of you.

                Hmmm ... Epazote ... Green Chiles ... calls for another can o Green Giant and experimentation ... ho, ho, ho

                1. re: rworange

                  For what its worth... I think the packaged Cobs of sweet (unfortunately) corn sold at Trader Joe's work better than Canned. They seem to be available year round... not that I have looked recently.

                  While Corn is obviously the preferred principal ingredient around the country... I have encountered various alternatives with the same preparations... most commonly Fresh Peas, Green Garbanzos... the ubiquitous Health/Vegetarian fast food chain in Mexico City often has Tofu in this style... and my friend from Sinaloa told me they have local grown Roasted Eggplant sold by street vendors.

                  I was introduced to a somewhat similar Provencal dish of roasted whole Fennel bulbs topped wtih Parmesan & served with an Aioli... so I now do a Roasted Fennel with Arbol-Garlic-Doble Crema & shaved Cotija.

                  1. re: Eat_Nopal

                    I saw the packaged corn at TJ's last week.

          2. the yellowish stuff is called parkay.

            1 Reply
            1. re: kare_raisu

              ha! that's what we were guessing but it was in a clear squeeze bottle so it was hard to know for sure.

            2. I've had elotes on the cob and in a cup as you describe in Phoenix - minus the buttery liquid, I don't remember that part but I could just be forgetting. Yum! (Although I agree the mayo can be a bit much sometimes.)

              In Guatemala the corn is usually a lot chewier than up north. It was an acquired taste for me, being used to soft, juicy sweet corn, but now that I am adjusted I crave it. You can get it boiled on the cob (usually served plain then) or roasted on the cob rubbed with lime and sprinkled with cheese.

              Occasionally you even see it spread with mayo and ketchup. This one I am not into. I have only had it once when my husband, who loves roasted corn, ordered it not realizing how it was being served. He was pretty surprised!